Interconnected, machine readable data, at scale

The NGA provides a free database with no regulations on its use. MaxMind takes some coordinates from that database and slaps IP addresses on them. Then IP mapping sites, as well as phone carriers offering “find my phone” services, display those coordinates on maps as distinct and exact locations, ignoring the “accuracy radius” that is supposed to accompany them.

“We assume the correctness of data, and often these people who are supposed to be competent make mistakes and those mistakes then are very detrimental to people’s daily lives,” said Olivier. “We need to get to a point where responsibility can be assigned to individuals who use data to ensure that they use the data correctly.”

From Kashmir Hill writing on the role of interconnected data in our modern lives. In this case it’s geo IP data, but it’s a story that’s increasingly common and likely in any field.

Two years after MaxMind first became aware of this problem with default [geo IP] locations, its lawyer says it’s still trying to fix it.

Where did all the votes go?

What happens to voting data after the election is over? What happens to all those certified results by polling place? How is it that there’s so much coverage leading up to and on the night of the election, but this guy seems to be one of the few sources of historical voting data? Amusingly, I found it linked on the Library of Congress’ website!

There’s some very old sources from E. Bowditch J. McConnel, who wrote some papers on voting patterns up to the 2000 election. The Census Bureau reports in detail on who registered and voted (including age, race, education, sex, marital status, veteran status, and more), but not how they voted, and not by geography. has political contribution stats by zip code (interesting: my last ZIP Code in NH contributes considerably less than my current zip code). Their data is based on the disclosure files managed and distributed by the Federal Election Commission.

Perhaps I’m just looking in the wrong place to find party aggregated registration information or vote histories by county or ZIP code?

Way Cooler Than A Catalog

I got a little excited when Shirley Lincicum wrote to the NGC4Lib mail list: [O]ne of the most frustrating things for me about Next Generation Catalog systems as they currently exist is that they seem wholly focused on the user interface and can, in fact, actually hold libraries back from designing or implementing improved “back […] » about 500 words

Visual Complexity

I found the above image of a yFiles-generated site map at We’ve seen a lot of internet diagrams, including this one from 1977, but what about mapping food? Or disaster situations? Or air routes? It’s like data porn, and there’s more in the visualcomplexity gallery. » about 100 words